Photo: A sporting coalition says the proposed legislation will impact codes' ability to sell broadcast rights. (AAP: Julian Smith)
Australia's biggest sporting codes have put the boot into a New South Wales bill which proposes tough new restrictions on alcohol advertising.
The bill would undermine the economics of professional sport in Australia, they have told a New South Wales parliamentary committee.
The major football codes, as well as Tennis Australia, Netball Australia and Cricket Australia are represented at the inquiry by the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS).
They are lining up against health and medical groups including the College for Emergency Medicine, the Australian Medical Association and the Cancer Council.
COMPPS has told the inquiry that "the sports strongly oppose the bill's prohibitions on alcohol advertising".
It said alcohol producers were a major sponsor of its member sports, which represent more than 16,000 clubs and 9 million participants.
In particular, it opposes the provisions that would make it an offence to broadcast an alcohol ad or gain a direct or indirect benefit from displaying an ad.
But the group has told the inquiry it is on the sidelines of decision making when it comes to alcohol advertising.
Sporting codes make revenue through the sale of broadcasting rights and broadcasters pay for those rights with advertising.
Netball Australia is the only member of COMPPS that does not receive the major part of its revenue from rights.
"The proposed amendments mean that a significant amount of advertising revenue would be denied to broadcasters," COMPSS said in its submission.
"This will have a corresponding negative impact on sports' rights fees."
Australian drinking culture already a concern
Photo: Alcohol advertisements are ubiquitous at sporting events seen by children. (Channel Nine)
Major alcohol distributors and national advertisers share the group's belief current regulatory codes are robust and working well.
They have pointed to research showing a decrease in alcohol consumption and binge-drinking over the last few years.
They have argued advertising increases market share rather than overall consumption, and that research linking advertising with drinking is not conclusive.
On the opposing side, the College for Emergency Medicine has been fully in favour of the proposed changes.
It has agreed with the NSW/ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance, a coalition of 48 organisations working to reduce alcohol-related harm.
In its submission, the College stated: "Alcohol advertising contributes to the normalisation of alcohol use and reinforces the harmful drinking culture that currently exists in Australia".
It argued that even though drinking in some age groups had started to decline, alcohol abuse remained a major problem.
"Emergency physicians deal with high volumes of alcohol-related ED [emergency department] presentations, which have detrimental effects on clinical staff, other patients and accompanying persons, and the functioning of the ED," the College said.
"This situation is becoming increasingly unsustainable, given ED presentation numbers are increasing year on year."...Read more